Experience

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Categories: TV Engineering

Experience

"Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables us to recognize our errors
each time we make them again."

(From some engineering magazine that I read while I was trying to become
an Electrical Engineer.)

Retroactive: Four Days Notice

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Categories: TV Engineering

Retroactive: Four Days Notice

I’m not the most current blogger on the web, but in my mailbox this
morning was a link to this webpage from Broadcast Engineering: http://broadcastengineering.com/hdtv/fcc-stations-four-days-file-notice-cease-analog-service-0210/
Note that the byline is dated Feb 10,2009. Note that the text of the
article says "The FCC Feb. 5 released a public notice giving full-power
TV stations until Feb. 9…" So the deadline was the ninth and the
article was dated the tenth. Hope you made the deadline!
Splice Is In, Switch Is Out

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Categories: TV Engineering

Splice Is In, Switch Is Out

Years after I saw the first Master Control program stream splicer at NAB
years ago in the A.F. Associates booth comes this pearl of wisdom from
John Luff in the January ’09 issue of Broadcast
Engineering:
"One might argue that a splicer is not a master control
system, but to be perfectly honest, it isn’t far from one."

Just think of how much better the picture quality would be if we used
2-pass MPEG-2 encoding on our primetime shows. (Or even better, how many
more digital program streams we could stat-mux if our main program had a
lower bitrate.)

DTV Transition Delayed

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Categories: TV Engineering

DTV Transition Delayed

With the countdown at T-minus 13, Congress has reset the clock to June
12th. The nations electric companies are the only sure winners – some
UHF stations face five figure monthly bills for keeping their analog
transmitters on. Paula Kerger, CEO of the Public Broadcasting System, said
that the total figure for all the PBS stations was $22 million for the
four months.

See the AP article here
and the Reuters article here.

HD World: SD, SxS Cards Are In

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Categories: TV Engineering

HD World: SD, SxS Cards Are In

I was looking at small consumer "DV" type cameras at HD World to buy for
my "shooters" (VJ’s). Even JVC is  looking
like
it might license Sony’s flavor of XDCAM EX MPEG-2 to use on SxS
cards.

In an adjacent area in JVC’s booth they had "camera under glass"
(probably Plexiglass). This camera, not much bigger than their original JY-HD10
model looks like it could get three 1/3" chips in a very compact package.

On the small consumer side, the Canon HF 100, HF10, HF11
series is interesting for a 1/3 inch one chip sensor camera. We own one
at work and it makes nice pictures for its size.

Over at Panasonic, I was hoping to see the AG-HMC150
SD Card camera in the ‘flesh’ Alas, they only had it’s P2 cousin , the AG-HPX170
on the show floor. Big difference in the cost of media.

And at the Sony booth, the HVRZ5U
and the PMW-EX3
each have their strong points.

Solder City

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Categories: TV Engineering

Solder City

One of our contract engineers was in my office neatening-up my computer
cables when he sees the headline: "Iraqi
Troops Quit Sadr City Fight
". He says:

"I always think about electronics when I hear about Solder City. Isn’t
that in the Silicon Valley?"

See, that’s what I miss about television engineering…

Something to Read While Waiting for That NAB Flight

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Something to Read While Waiting for That NAB Flight

(OK, this was funnier two weeks ago… )

From: aedigitaltv@mac.com
Reply-to: FinalCutPro-L@yahoogroups.com
To:
FinalCutPro-L@yahoogroups.com
Sent: 4/1/2008 8:12:22 A.M. Central
Standard Time
Subj: [FCP-L] changes for NAB

From UPI/Reuters

LAS VEGAS, NV USA April 1, 2008

<snip>

For the 2008 convention, NAB is expected to unveil two new proposals of
transmission standards for continental US television: ANALTAL, and
DIGALOG. Combining innovative features of wideband analog signals
withthe lossless potential of digital schemes, these new standards will
be incompatible with existing viewing technology but ready to usher in a
new decade of progress, particularly with respect to monitoring, in
2010. ANALTAL presents the SDI signal in biological,
rectal-linear/biologarithmic space, while DIGALOG displays will make use
of highly viewer-specific iterative-mechano-precise responses, based on
feedback, as provided by probes. Universal, Sony, Thomson/Grass Valley,
and Microsoft have endorsed DIGALOG, while Disney Studios and
Time/Warner have formed a consortium backing ANALTAL. Microsoft has
adapted DIGALOG in a proprietary manner, thus possibly forming a third
option for 2010. "These new standards have everything we need to face a
content-oriented future, and will prove a boon to manufacturers and
vendors alike, when the technology is ready," stated NAB Director
Phyllis Diller. "The market will decide, and we’re confident the more
powerful consortium will be the best."

<snip>

Andy Edwards

Not Heading for NAB…

Not Heading for NAB…

It’s my own fault, I guess. I made a decision to move from engineering
to production management. Now a victim of corporate belt tightening, I
know that if I want to go to NAB in the future – it will be on my own
dime & on my own time.

So I’ll be sitting here in New York reading everyone else’s NAB blog.
Check back daily for links to the most interesting items for my fellow
news junkies.

Here’s one for starters:
http://blog.digitalcontentproducer.com/nab/

Arabic Proverb

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Categories: TV Engineering

Arabic Proverb

“He that knows not, and knows not that he knows not is a fool. Shun him

He that knows not, and knows that he knows not is a pupil. Teach him.

He that knows, and knows not that he knows is asleep. Wake him.

He that knows, and knows that he knows is a teacher. Follow him."

(Arabic proverb)

Thanks to Andy Mees (on the StudioDaily
Blog
)

MPEG Suspected In Lip Sync Errors

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Categories: TV Engineering

MPEG Suspected In Lip Sync Errors

Deborah D. McAdams writes in in the March issue of Television
Broadcast
:

"Lip sync is notoriously bad in digital broadcast television, making a
lot of content resemble the original English-dubbed Godzilla films…."

Interesting is the information appearing in the print but not the
on-line version of the article: "…Others [individuals knowledgeable
about the issue] point out that splitting audio and video from the
get-go…was a bad idea in the first place."

No, really? Embed that audio ! That’s my motto. I’ve seen too many
‘engineers’ running around like chickens without a head (sorry, poor
choice of imagery) because they were sending analog audio through the
plant with their HD-SDI video and wondering why it was out of sync.

Causing Panic In The Streets

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Causing Panic In The Streets

"What gives them the right to force me to buy a new TV?"
demanded my sister-in-law’s cousin at Easter dinner. The trigger for
this outburst was a discussion of how Verizon FIOS was pulling the plug
on providing analog feeds of metro New York City TV stations and giving
out free ‘mini’ converter boxes for use on customer TV’s that currently
have no box.

Cousin Lizzy (a pseudonym) had obviously seen those "end of analog" PSAs
that strangely leave out the words "over the air" when
saying that all TV must be digital by February ’09.

"Money", I quickly shot back. "The Federal Government is looking to make billions
of dollars
selling soon to be unused TV channels to cell phone and
internet companies. But wait, you have cable, don’t you?" I asked. "Time
Warner", she said. "Then you’re fine" I said. "All you have to do is
wait for the letter from Time Warner saying that you have to get cable
boxes for the sets that don’t already have them. The only people that
have to worry are the people that are getting their TV with rabbit ears
or antennas on the roof. They are the only ones who are going to loose
their picture. They need to get one of the government’s $40 coupons for
a digital converter box."

Cousin Lizzy was disarmed but still indignant, so I added "Because they
can. They’re from the government and they are here to help you." And
child of the ’30′s Cousin Lizzy understood.

Panasonic HDC-SD5

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Panasonic HDC-SD5

OK, I normally don’t spend all my time looking at consumer HD cameras.
But I can think of lots of uses for the Panasonic HDC-SD5 reviewed
at eirikso.com

And if you have FCP 6.0.1 or later, you can actually edit this AVC stuff.

Hooray for the Digital Transition ???

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Categories: TV Engineering

Hooray for the Digital Transition ???

Some of the Tribune newspapers are running an article
by Baltimore Sun technology writer Mike Himowitz titled "Those who don’t
convert will slip into dark ages." Undoubtedly first of many over the
next fifteen months.

Bohrman’s Bus Beats B’casters w/ BGAN

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Bohrman’s Bus Beats B’casters w/ BGAN

(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself – just had to write that headline.)

Actually, the BIG news is that CNN is the first out of the gate with an HD
election
bus
. With all the talk about the Convention Pool being in HD, you
would think that some other network would have made a similar
announcement.

Or maybe one of them has something totally different up their sleeves?

UPDATE: See what Bohrman came up with next: http://www.tvtechnology.com/article/68876

No Sax Metaphor

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No Sax Metaphor

Sorry, the headline is a cheap shot, but Mark Turner used it as a
subhead in his article
called Digital TV, Sax and Violins in the September 19th issue of
TV Technology. As you know, one of my pet peeves is broadcast IT people
crowing about how great it is that ubiquitous computing has made it
possible for many separate devices (like CGs, still-stores, video
switchers and audio consoles) to be combined into a time-line centric
single (keyboard and mouse controlled) device.

Now I have nothing against the Ross Video Overdrive and the Thomson
Grass Valley Ignite – they are great at automating repetitive tasks. But
I have racked-up some flight time on Ignite’s predecessor and you have
keep in mind that when the excrement hits the fan (like truly breaking
BIG news), you really want to have a couple of those old fashioned
‘single button per function’ devices and some warm bodies to run them in
your control room. Otherwise you might be able to characterize your
coverage as "no sax radio."

“NASCAR in Primetime”, HD and 5.1

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“NASCAR in Primetime”, HD and 5.1

In "Gentlemen,
set your TiVos
", Frank
Capria
blogs about the ABC News limited Series "NASCAR
in Primetime
." What he doesn’t say is that the series was shot in HD
(much on HDV) and was mixed in surround sound. You get a chance to
compare the quality of "studio" cameras with DVCPro100 and HDV all in
one place. Catch the last two episodes tonight at 10P E/P and next
Wednesday at either 9 or 10 P (ABC has been moving it around.)

The Best (Linear) Editing Software Ever

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Categories: TV Engineering

The Best (Linear) Editing Software Ever

The news
that David Krall will step down as President of AVID at the end of July
has rekindled the Apple/AVID debate.

Reminds me of the time my editor friend and I beta tested the PC-based
version of a major company’s version of their mini-computer based edit
software. (Hint: It rhymed with "Mace".) We came up with a list of 30
features the software needed to have in order to be editor-friendly (for
example: being able to enter two ‘outs’ and one ‘in’ for an insert
edit.) Well the company implemented most of our suggestions, but kept
the clunkier interface from their mini-computer version. Needless to say
that it went over like a lead balloon (even though it was the most
editor friendly thing out there at the time.) Even the company that my
friend and I worked for bought someone else’s product.